The FairTax proposal of 1999 rapidly gained steam among the public due to Steve Jobs embracing it and touting how all sides would benefit, through a groundbreaking commercial campaign which made it obvious the income tax system benefited tax lawyers above all others. Politicians on all sides found themselves forced to support it or face the wrath of constituents. The bill passed, and America prepared for the century-old income tax system to be replaced with something modern and computerized.
Starting on Jan 1, 2001, every American citizen received a monthly tax rebate of the exact same fixed dollar amount instead of a yearly tax refund. (They also got their final income tax refund or made their final income tax payment around April.) Some people complained, but most people simply put it in their savings or checking accounts and hailed the end of the FICA payroll tax.
When the planes knocked down the World Trade Center towers on September 11, 2001, a recession started. But a marvelous thing happened: it didn’t hurt the underclasses as much as previous recessions. The monthly “prebate” acted as a guaranteed income stream for people out of work, and the burden on unemployment and welfare systems was substantially reduced. The tax burdens on small businesses were not as onerous, because the big companies that could pay for legislative loopholes in the past didn’t make out like bandits and leave small business to pay the tab. Used goods such as thrift stores boomed. Even as income inequality rose, standards of living rose for the lower classes.
As the country’s economy rebuilt, the startlingly positive outcome resulted in numerous books and papers hailing the FairTax’s success. The prebate had functioned as a “national dividend” which some called “universal basic income.” A side effect was noted: the national treasury had been decoupled from labor. The futurists who’d been warning of automation’s ills realized that half of the problem had been solved.
Another startling reform gained steam: universal welfare. The plan was to replace all means-tested welfare with a flat welfare check for all, spending on the people an amount that would have gone to bureaucrats to prevent those well-off from receiving public funds that had been extracted from their businesses by taxation.
It passed in 2006, and the income went through the same channels (paper checks and direct deposit) that people received the FairTax. Individual housing became more affordable for all families of every background.
There was no crash in 2008.
The foreclosures weren’t as severe, and the assets never became toxic. Instead, America started paying down its debt, as the more people spent on consumer goods and services, the more taxes the government collected. Other countries started adopting similar programs, and similarly thriving.
Income inequality began being seen as a good thing, because the “whales” paid for everything. The more the billionaires thrived, the more the people got.